Vaccination or negative test required for Saints games

Louisiana News

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 17: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints walks off the field against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 17, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Superdome remains on track to open at full capacity for New Orleans Saints games this season, but only to fans who provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours prior to games, and who wear masks.

The City of New Orleans enacted new rules Thursday for entertainment venues and indoor facilities hosting large social gatherings on the heels of spiking COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the state in recent weeks. That came after the State of Louisiana enacted a mask mandate for such venues.

In a statement Thursday, the Saints expressed both an intent to enforce the new rules at homes games, but also empathy for fans who might be frustrated by the new hurdle to enter games.

Last season, fans could attend games with masks and temperature checks, but only sold a few thousand tickets per game to the 73,000-season Superdome.

“We are committed to doing everything we can in the current environment to protect your health and safety while at the same time providing the best game day experience in the NFL,” the Saints’ statement said. “We understand some will be frustrated, as are we, that we find ourselves in this position.”

The Saints play their first home exhibition game Aug. 23.

The club also said it would be joining with Ochsner Health System, one of the club’s chief sponsors, to stage vaccination events in the New Orleans area as well as outside the Superdome on game days.

“We remain optimistic that, with our community’s help and as vaccination rates increase, these restrictions will no longer be necessary as the season progresses,” the team said.

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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